Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney1
As we sustain our season of focused prayer at The Journey Church, we want to continue to link prayer with proactive mission for Christ (you can find our prayer meeting times here). Jesus’ honor and glory and fame in the lives of people in our borough of West Chester is the heartbeat of our pleas to our Triune God.
And, as we maintain this prayer-momentum, we need solid gospel-resources. Don Whitney’s new book, Praying the Bible, is one such source. Here are six reasons you should read this book:
It is accessible: Our lives are packed with work responsibilities, meetings, appointments, extracurricular activities, and todo lists. Full schedules shrink our willingness to excavate biblical truth by delving deeply into lengthly Christian resources. Whitney’s book answers our evasive refrain—“I’d love to read that, but I don’t have time.”— by only requiring a 79-page commitment (the reading starts on page 11). It is short; it is not technical.
It is diagnostic: Over two chapters (17 pages), Whitney addresses the problem—we don’t pray more frequently because we find that when we pray we say the same old, boring phrases about the same old things over and over and over again (11)—and the solution—avoid a stagnant prayer life by praying through passages of the Bible (27).
It is relevant: When I ask people about their prayer life, they nearly always respond, “Its not as good as it should be.” Christians struggle to maintain a vibrant prayer life. Prayer seems impractical and its results are often not immediate and/or are intangible. Whitney knows this struggle is common to the Christian life (personally and from his ministerial experience). His book seeks to aid Christians where they are weak so that they can encounter Christ afresh.
It is practical: Though there are innumerable books worth our attention, not all books have immediate impact because they don’t illustrate how to practically workout our Christian faith. In the span of four pages, chapter 3, “The Method,” tangibly manifests how to pray through a psalm irrespective of our time restraints; irrespective of the age of our faith in Christ. All Believers in Christ by grace through faith should be able to emulate this approach to prayer.
It is Word-saturated: As a pastor, I think anything that fosters genuine engagement with the Word of Christ—the Bible—is an excellent resource. I long for my people to know God by knowing His Word (the incarnate Word and the inspired Word) because the scripture contains the revelation of His Christ. Whitney’s book doesn’t merely cite the Bible referentially, it takes readers by the hand and leads them to rivers of living water by focusing their attention on the ancient words that are ever true.
It is encouraging: By recounting God’s answers to the prayers of George Mueller (pp. 81-89), Whitney reminds us that, for Christians, our prayers do not hit an invisible spiritual roof and fall short of God’s ear. God hears. And, God answers prayer. Prayer teaches us dependence upon God and kindles our affections for Him.
If you’re looking for an excellent devotional tool as you study the Scripture, I highly recommend this book. I close with a quote:
“So basically what you are doing is taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God. By this means his words become the wings of your prayers.” (32)
More in The Journey Blog
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